The Modest Wallet is a free digital publication delivering its readers simple personal finance solutions. We regularly partner with brands that have products and services that will help our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. How we make money.
We all want to make money online but very few of us are able to achieve the desired numbers.
You need money in order to live a luxurious life. How else will you pay for your vacations and designer clothes? (If you're into that kind of stuff).
Having an office job or even a business is not enough. Your office will pay you a limited salary that may prevent you from enjoying life how you would love to enjoy it.
This is why it may be a good idea to go online and make some money on the side. Your best bet is to turn to the internet and make money online.
Why Make Money Online
Back in the day, the only way you could make money on the side was to invest in stocks or real estate. However, things have changed thanks to the internet revolution.
Online influencers like Huda Kattan, Neil Patel, and Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (PewDiePie) are making millions through the web.
There are many reasons why you should also give it a try:
- Less Risky: You do not have to quit your job or close your business to try to make money online. You can do it on the side.
- Affordable: It’s cheap to start an online business. Since there is very little initial capital required, you will not lose a lot of money even if the business fails.
- Fun: It can be a lot of fun to make money online. You can do it without having to do anything. Sit home and your bank balance would increase on its own.
- Easy: While competition is tough, the ease is undeniable. You can do it all from the comfort of your home, without having to go out and waste time.
The potential is out there but let’s not forget the competition.
Over 3.3 billion people use the internet today and a lot of them are trying to make money online by reading this and other similar blogs.
At the end of the day, there will be some failures. You need to be the best in order to leave a mark.
What Causes Online Businesses to Fail
According to reports, about 90% of all online startups fail within the first 3 months of operation. This is a huge number that shows just how important it is to be careful when working online.
Know what causes people to fail so that you do not make the same mistakes.
Here are some reasons:
Taking Things Too Lightly: Do not make the mistake of taking things too lightly. While online businesses offer great ease, it doesn’t mean you only sit and relax.
You need to take your business seriously and give it the time that it demands. In fact, you might even have to open an office and hire employees as the business grows.
Spending No Money: A lot of people turn to online businesses since it requires very little investment. While it’s cheaper to start an online business, it’s not completely free.
Do not be the person who opts for free hosting and domain. Such businesses find no success as they are not able to reach a big audience.
Make a budget and spend money where it is needed. Your business should look professional. Otherwise, you may not be able to attract clients.
Blindly Following Others: The problem with online businesses is that most people blindly follow others.
“Oh, he’s making a million by posting videos on YouTube, I can try it too” seems to be the mantra that results in failure. Look for the right option and not the fast option.
Do something you are good at. There are dozens of ways to make money on the web. Always pick a niche you are comfortable in.
Not Being Patient Enough: The internet is full of success stories. People have made millions overnight by being smart but such successes are far and few.
For most people, it can take months and years to make a decent profit. Do not be the person to give up within a few days of business.
Put your best foot forward and you will begin to see results.
Not Investing in Marketing: Do not be the person who invests no money into marketing. Online products don’t sell on their own.
You will have to spend on marketing so that users know what you have to offer. You could put the best shoes in the world for sale, but you will not sell any if nobody is aware of the sale.
What Do I Need to Market an Online Business?
There are several ways to market an online business. You can even market virtual businesses the traditional way – through television commercials and billboards.
However, it’s best to stick to these options:
- Search Engine Optimization: SEO is important to generate traffic. It helps your website rank well so that you can receive more traffic. After all, 51% of all online traffic is organic. How you convert this traffic into buyers is a different ballgame
- Social Media: You can advertise your business through social media platforms by making relevant posts and using creative hashtags. Moreover, there is also the option to turn to paid advertisements.
- Influencers: You can work with influencers to promote your business. Some charge money for their services and some will provide the services in return for free products.
- Content: At the end of the day, content is king. Work on creating SEO friendly, original content and you will begin to receive targeted traffic. We suggest to try a variety of content types including videos, written blogs, and images.
- Advertising Platforms: PPC campaigns can be very effective in generating traffic. You can advertise through Adwords and other such platforms to get visitors to your site.
How Much Money Can I Make Online?
It depends on what type of business you have and how many visitors or buyers you enjoy.
Some people make millions by working on the web and some only make a few hundred dollars. At the end of the day, it all depends on how you play.
Remember that everything sells when it comes to the internet. Just because you see everyone going crazy for makeup products doesn’t mean you should also start your own makeup store unless you know a lot about makeup.
Do what you can do better than others so that you have a competitive advantage.
Do I Need a Lot of Money to Start an Online Business?
The rumours are true – you can start an online business for $0. However, it may not be the smartest decision.
The investment you need depends largely on the type of business you want to have.
For example, if you want to open an online store, you will need to invest in machinery, employees, etc., to make your product. It can take the initial investment to the rooftop.
Similarly, you can start for as low as $100 if you only want to have a personal blog.
Here are a few things you are expected to spend on:
- Hosting: Stay away from free packages and choose a reliable paid package. You can start for as low as $2.99 per month. Pick a provider who is known to offer at least 99.9% backup with other good features.
- Domain Name: Get a decent domain name that goes well with your business. It’s best to first think of a business name before buying a domain. While .com domains are the best and go for about $9.99/year you can also choose other extensions such as .co.ca or .edu.
- Marketing: Ever seen sponsored posts on Instagram? These are paid ads that can be effective in building an audience. Get ready to spend a good amount of money on marketing. Some big companies spend thousands of dollars on online marketing but you can start for as low as $1. Calculate the ROI and increase your marketing budget accordingly.
20 Best Ideas on How to Make Money Online
Now that you know all about making money online, here are 20 effective ways to do it.
1. Be a Blogger
Most people think of blogging when they talk about making money online. It’s said to be the easiest way to make money online but the industry is quite competitive.
A blog is all about sharing your experiences and opinions with others. It may contain videos and podcasts as well.
How Can I Start a Blog?
The process is simple and can be completed in a single day.
- Think of a name and buy a URL and hosting.
- Choose a platform like WordPress or Joomla to host your blog on.
- Pick the right theme, upload content, and go live.
- Start investing in marketing and you’ll begin to see a spike in traffic.
How and How Much Will I Make Through a Blog?
The amount you make depends largely on how you plan to earn through the blog. You can earn by advertising on your blog, selling products through affiliate marketing, etc.
While some blogs like BuzzFeed make millions through posting online content, smaller bloggers like Perez Hilton are said to make about $30,000 dollars per month via blogging.
Work on building a loyal audience and you will hear the cash registers ringing.
2. Create Your Own Website
This is not the same as having a blog. A website offers more than what a blog offers. You can have a website like Facebook, which is essentially a social media platform, or Yahoo, which offers everything under one platform.
The idea is to have a site where you can attract visitors and make money online. There are dozens of niches and ideas to choose from.
Pick something that works for you. If all goes well, you can go ahead and turn your website into a corporation. It’s more about thinking of a business idea first and then going virtual.
How Can I Start a Website?
Follow the same process as explained above. However, you may need more capital to start a website, depending on the niche. Plus, finding a URL can be difficult as well. After all, there are over 1 billion websites out there.
Moreover, you will need a website builder to do the job. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you can count on WordPress and other such platforms to do the job.
Plus, remember that it may take a while to put things into motion. For example, you must have hundreds of articles to publish if you intend to start a niche lifestyle website.
You may even have to hire other writers to contribute to your website.
How and How Much Will I Make Through a Website?
Once again, it depends on how much traffic you get. You can earn through ads, referrals, etc.
3. Be a YouTube Star
This is among the best ideas to make money online.
YouTube can be a good option if you want to make money. Some popular stars like TheRadBrad make around $915,000 through the platform.
There are YouTube stars out there who make millions just by posting original videos for people to see. For example YouTuber, Marques Brownlee.
If you have the right skills, you can make it big on YouTube. You can upload anything from funny videos to tutorials to general content.
How Can I Be a YouTube Star?
- Sign up for an account on YouTube and select a username that goes well with what you intend to publish. You may choose to work as a company or individual. Fill all the required details and select a relevant profile pic.
- The next and one of the most difficult step is to choose a category. We suggest that you stick to one category at a time. Pick something you are good.
- Make a professional video and upload it. You may have to hire editors and videographers to ensure the video looks attractive. Plus, stay away from copyright infringements. Only upload original content you have the right to share.
- Use different marketing tools to share your video. Also, be creative in writing the title and description of the video. After all, YouTube is now the second largest search engine.
How and How Much Will I Make Through YouTube?
There are several ways to earn through YouTube but the best option is to monetize your videos. The more number of views you get, the more money you can make.
However, remember that the amount of money you make depends largely on the quality of the traffic. If all goes well, you can make up to $5 per thousand views. It may not sound much but it equals to $5,000 per million views.
Work on getting more views and earning more subscribers. Once you build a reputation, you can begin to also advertise through videos and earn more.
4. Start an Online Store
If you have good business skills and you enjoy buying and selling then consider opening an online store. You may either choose to be a middleman or make your own products and reach a wide audience.
eBay and Amazon are two big examples. They mostly act as a middleman and earn through commissions. However, there are also sellers like Shopify who offer their own products and services.
How Can I Start an Online Store?
- Think of a brand name and get a website.
- Build the store. You can hire professionals or turn to Shopify and other such tools to get plugins.
- It’s important to take care of everything from security to payment integration. You can work with PayPal and 2Checkout to make things easier.
- Upload details including product images, prices, etc., and ensure everything works well.
- Once ready, it’s time to go live.
How and How Much Will I Make Through an Online Store?
It can take a while to make a mark in this highly competitive niche but the returns can be good.
Most users are hesitant about buying from a new store. After all, purchasing online includes sharing personal information. This is why it is important to work with reliable third-party tools so that users have the confidence to make a purchase.
You will earn a profit on every purchase if you make your own products. Otherwise, you’ll earn a commission for every sale made. Find a model that works the best for you.
Also, expect to spend a lot on advertisements and get ready to try creative marketing tactics to gain buyers.
eCommerce stores are expensive to start and run. You will need a team to handle different departments, which is why it can take a while to breakeven.
5. Be a Freelancer
Companies also prefer to work with freelancers as it helps them save money. If you have the time and skills then consider going this route.
How Can I Start to offer Freelance Services?
- Join a platform like UpWork, Guru, or Fiverr. They’re all good but differ in terms of services and fees. For example, UpWork charges a 20% fee from new users. On the other hand, Guru only charges 10%. However, there is more work on UpWork than there is on Guru.
- Create a killing portfolio and select a niche you want to work in. There are various options to choose from. You can be a graphic designer, offer technical support, etc. Pick something relevant to your education and experience. Freelancing is like an office job, except for you do it from your own home at your own pace.
- Upload relevant documents and write a kickass bio to attract potential clients.
- Start bidding for projects. There may be no scope for negotiations so make sure to put your best foot forward.
How and How Much Will I Make Through Freelancing?
You will earn money for completing projects. The amount of money you make depends on the number of projects you take on and the amount you charge.
Most platforms offer hourly and fixed term projects. You can pick a rate that you believe is competitive and worth your time and efforts.
However, remember that you must wait for a few days (depending on the platform) to withdraw your money. Also, be ready to pay commission/fee.
6. Start to Earn Commissions
It can be a fast and easy way to earn money. The easiest way to earn a commission is to try multi level marketing options that pay you for selling products, which you may also sell offline in some cases.
The option works well when you have a strong online presence or a big circle of friends.
How Can I Start to Earn Commissions?
- The first step is to look for a company that offers affiliate marketing services. There are many scams out there, hence do a good amount of research and pick a company that’s reliable.
- Some products are easier to sell than others. It’s best to choose a product that you think you’d be able to sell through your website or blog.
- Study about the product, what it does and how it does so you can promote it better.
- Most companies will give you targets to achieve in order to be eligible for payments. The industry can be competitive so put your best foot forward.
How and How Much Will I Make Through Commissions?
You will make a commission for every successful sale. You may choose to sell online or offline, depending on what works for you.
The amount you make also depends on how expensive the product is as the commission is usually in the range of 20% but some companies may even pay 50%.
7. Invest Online and Try Trading
If you are an investor and enjoy playing with money then this option is made for you. It’s risky but can turn you into a millionaire overnight, given that you know how to play.
You can invest in everything from stocks to cryptos to futures. However, it’s a risky business since the stock market is hard to predict. You may end up losing all or a large part of your investment, hence be responsible.
How Can I Start to Trade Online?
- It is important to first know how trading works. Have a look at the financial glossary here to get accustomed to the financial lingo. This is very important because online trading is complicated. You can even have a demo account first before you play with real money.
- Join a platform like Plus500, Markets, or eToro and sign up for an account. You have the option to (1) buy stock (2) trade without ownership by counting on leverage trading. Pick the one that works the best for you.
- Select the asset you want to invest in. Cryptos, for example, can be very good but they are highly volatile.
- Keep an eye on the prices and know when to buy or sell to make a profit.
How and How Much Will I Make Through Online Trading?
You will make a profit every time an asset gains or loses value, based on what you bet on. Online trading is a different ball game but very rewarding.
8. Use Your Social Media to Advertise
Leverage your social media presence and make a good amount of money by doing so. You can even start a new page today if you have a good idea.
It’s best to only post original content but you may even have a fashion page and share posts from other pages (with permission) to gain followers.
How Can I Start to Advertise Through Social Media?
- Make a social media profile. Choose a platform you’re most comfortable using.
- Start posting original content until you have a decent number of followers – at least 10K.
- Use the platform to advertise businesses and even sell your own products.
How and How Much Will I Make By Advertising Through Social Media?
You can earn by making sponsored posts. You can also use the platform to promote your own products or website. The money you make will largely depend on the number of followers you have.
9. Earn Money By Using Something
Your opinion is valued so why not spend a bit of time using something and sharing feedback.
You will be testing new products and services offered by big and small companies. Businesses use this technique to receive feedback and improve products before they hit the market.
Very few people are aware of how the concept works. We have you covered:
How Can I Start to Earn Money by Using Something?
- The first step is to pick a niche. Since you will be working in a complex industry, your application may not get approved if you do not have a relevant background.
- Sign up for a membership. You can review everything from apps to music to movies. Slice The Pie, for example, can be a good option to review songs.
- Take on projects and start earning.
How and How Much Will I Make By Using Something?
The amount of money you make usually depends on the time you spend reviewing, however, there is usually a cap. Most websites pay between $8 to $20 per hour.
10. Be an Online Influencer
It’s quite the same as building a social media presence but influencer marketing deserves its own ranking due to how big the industry is.
An influencer is a person who has the power to influence others. The power comes with authority. You need to have solid experience and skills so you can gain a good number of followers.
Small time influencers make about $250 per post. You can work with big companies as well. Shondaurus, for example, partners with big corporations and helps them reach over 700,000 Snapchat users for about $10,000 per post.
How Can I Be an Influencer?
- Choose a niche and join a platform you think works the best for you. We suggest that you stick to one platform instead of trying every other option out there. Instagram, for example, can be a good option if you want to make a name in fashion.
- Start by sharing informative, authoritative, and original content. Build your presence so that people can start to recognize your brand.
- Spend on marketing and watch your audience grow.
How and How Much Will I Make By Being an Influencer?
The more followers you have, the more money you’ll make. However, it is going to be tough since you’d be competing against the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Kim Kardashian. These celebs are also influencers and often charge for posts.
11. Give Online Reviews
About 75% of buyers look for online reviews before they make a purchase decision. Companies are well aware of the figures and are willing to pay you to review their products and services.
How Can I Start to Offer Paid Reviews?
- Sign up for a membership at InboxDollar, Swagbucks or similar sites. They pay you for sharing reviews after you have used a product. In some cases, you may even get to keep the product.
- If you have a solid Amazon profile, you can use it to leave 5-star paid reviews. While they may be fake, they can pay well – up to $10 per review. Each review only takes a few minutes to post.
- You can also get in touch with buyers and offer to review their products and share the review on your site or blog. Some companies are willing to pay a lot for such services.
How and How Much Will I Make By Offering Paid Reviews?
You will get your first paycheck after about a month, which will get transferred to your PayPal account or bank, based on where you live. However, this option may not be available for users outside of the US and Canada.
12. Start Filling Surveys and Take On Data Entry Jobs
Believe it or not, websites are willing to pay you for completing surveys and data entry jobs. The two are often linked, hence they belong to the same subheading.
How Can I Start to Fill Surveys?
1. Choose a platform and sign up for a membership. Some of the best options include SurveyJunkie, Toluna, ClickBank, and Populus Live. It’s important to be careful when selecting a site as several scams exist.
2. Look for surveys and fill the forms as required. There might be a cap on the number of surveys you can fill in a day.
How and How Much Will I Make By Filling Surveys?
Most surveys pay between $3 to $5. It may not be much but since each survey only takes about 15 minutes, you can easily make about $20 per day by working for an hour a day.
13. Avail Free or Discounted Offers
It may not be the same as making money but you can avail free or discounted products and sell ‘em at a higher price.
How Can I Start to Avail Free or Discounted Offers?
- Many businesses offer seasonal discounts or sales to new and old customers. You can avail these discounts to make purchases at cheaper prices and sell the product at a higher price.
- You can put the item for sale online on Amazon or eBay and even your own social media pages. Almost all products sell well but the market for tickets is pretty good – fetching 59% profit. This is because tickets are limited and people are willing to pay more for a seat.
How and How Much Will I Make By Availing Free or Discounted?
You will make a profit every time you make a sale. However, it’s a risky business since you may not be able to successfully sell all that you have.
14. Make Your Own App
Use your skills and make your own mobile app. This is a good option; after all, people spend about 90% of their mobile time going through different apps.
You can make a game or a useful app to earn a good amount of money. Flappy Bird helped the makers make millions. Allen Wong is another name who made millions by creating his own police app.
How Can I Start to Make Mobile Apps?
- You can make your own app or work for a company. Most app developers earn about $45 per hour. Plus, it takes about 50 paid hours to complete a gig so expect to earn about $2250 for creating an app. However, it may not be the best option since the company will have the rights to the app. This is why we suggest that you make your own app.
- You can also hire a designer to make an app if you have a good idea. It will cost you about $2,250.
- Put the app on the internet for download. You must know how to upload mobile apps through iTunes and Google Play so you can reach a good audience.
- You will have to hire a graphic designer and marketers to ensure the app is fully developed.
How and How Much Will I Make With a Mobile App?
You can make a good amount of money by selling the app to a buyer. Some are willing to pay thousands for good apps. The other option is to monetize the app and earn through ads. This option can be good if you have a high number of visitors.
Pokemon Go, the popular game, made $35 million in the first two weeks!
Other than this, you can earn by selling in-app services or offering a paid product. The more buyers you have, the more money you’ll make.
15. Be a Virtual Assistant
If you are good at taking orders and completing small tasks then jump the bandwagon and be a virtual assistant. With businesses going viral, they are heavily in demand.
It’s quite like freelancing, you may choose to work full-time (8 hours) or part-time, according to your availability.
How Can I Start to Offer Virtual Assistant Services?
- Join a platform like UpWork, look for relevant jobs, and apply with a kickass proposal.
- Make sure to be clear about job descriptions. The client can ask you to perform a variety of tasks, hence read it neatly.
How and How Much Will I Make By Offering Virtual Assistant Services?
The amount you make will depend on your hourly rate and the number of hours you work. You will typically get paid at the end of the week but some users may also offer monthly contracts.
16. Develop and Publish Online Courses
If you enjoy delivering lectures then this job can be the right option for you. You can use your knowledge and experience to earn money and help others make a career.
It’s a rewarding profession but you must be experienced and skilled to do justice to the job.
How Can I Start to Develop and Publish Online Courses?
- Decide which field you want to work in. It’s best to stick to a field you have experience in so that you do not have to work very hard in creating courses.
- You may choose to offer the courses through your own website for a fee. However, a more viable option is to turn to sites like Digital Talk and Academy of Mine. They pay for courses.
How and How Much Will I Make By Developing and Publishing Online Courses?
Depends on how you offer the courses. The amount you make depends on the number of subscriptions you sell if you offer the material through your own site. On the other hand, third party sites either pay commissions or a flat rate. Pick carefully.
17. Be a Writer
If you are good with words then it may be a good idea to be a writer. People turn to the internet when they want information, hence companies are always looking for freelance writers.
It’s the same as working as a freelancer but deserves its own heading due to how big the industry is. A good example would be 50 Shades of Grey. Originally published as a fan-fic, the book helped E. L. James make millions.
How Can I Start to Offer Writing Services?
- You can write eBooks or novels and publish content through Kindle and other such platforms. You also have the option to hire other writers to create books for you.
- Create articles and sell them directly to websites like ListVerse. You can earn as high as $100 per article, but your content must meet editorial guidelines and publishing requirements.
- Other than this, you may turn to a freelancing platform and look for clients looking to hire freelancers. However, such jobs may be ghostwritten gigs.
- Check your work through Copyscape or other such platforms to ensure it is plagiarism free. Copying content can get you into real trouble.
How and How Much Will I Make Through Writing?
Your clients will either pay you a fixed amount or hourly rate for your services, hence your revenue will be limited. However, you can make thousands by selling your own content through Kindle.
Books go for as low as $5 and as high as $50. You can earn a huge commission based on the plan you have. Plus, Kindle is also known to offer bonuses so keep your fingers crossed.
Moreover, you can also work with LuLu and other such platforms to publish your own eBooks. Self-publishing can be a good option if you do not want to share commissions with others, but it can be expensive to promote such books.
The huge number of options makes this the best idea to make money online.
18. Be an Online Marketer
Once you have mastered the art of marketing your own business, you can use your skills to help others reach a wide audience.
There are many aspects of online marketing including search engine optimization, pay per click campaigns, social media, etc.
If you have a good grasp of all these factors, you can start your career as an online marketer.
How Can I Start to Offer Online Marketing Services?
- You can start your own website offering such services or join one of the freelancing platforms. Look for jobs and help people make money.
- Make sure to have case studies showing your competency. Clients would want to know why they should choose you.
How and How Much Will I Make By Offering Online Marketing Services?
Companies are willing to spend a huge amount of money on advertisements. A large chunk of this money can come to you if you play it right.
After all, online marketers are said to make 1.6x more than traditional marketers. This is why it is among the best ideas to make money online.
19. Be a Coach or Consultant
You can be a life coach and teach any subject online. We suggest you mix this up with courses so you can have a successful online business.
How Can I Start to offer Freelance Services?
- If you are an influencer, you can begin to offer services through your social media handle. Instagram and Facebook now allow this feature.
- You also have the option to join freelancing sites or platforms like Udemy to share your expertise with others.
- Help people make decisions and make money.
How and How Much Will I Make Through Freelancing?
Most consultants and coaches charge hourly for their services but some also deliver online classes. A mix of two can make this the best idea to make money online.
The amount you make depends on the number of paying students you have and your payment model.
20. Click and Sell Photos
If you have good skills then put ‘em to some use and make money online by selling your photos online. You only need a decent camera to get started.
The market is tough as there are a number of photographers out there. It can be hard to secure a contract, so why not try online?
How Can I Start to Sell Photos?
- You can choose from a variety of websites including iStockPhoto and ShutterStock. These sites pay for each photo and keep the right to the photograph. If this is not your cup of tea, then you may try a platform like 500mx Prime. It pays commission for every sale.
- All the pictures should be professional and presentable. We suggest you stick to the niche that you enjoy the most.
- Wait for the store to get back to you. However, remember that you may not be allowed to post the same picture to multiple stores.
How and How Much Will I Make By Selling Photos?
Some platforms pay a flat rate between $25 to $250 depending on the quality of the picture and the niche. On the other hand, some pay a commission, which can be as high as 75%.
Find the right platform and you’ll make a good amount of money in no time. However, the returns may not be consistent hence some say that it is not among the best ideas to make money online but it can still be very effective.
These were the twenty best ways to make money online. Pick the best idea to make money online and start working. We suggest you stick to one option and see how it works for you.
Also, remember the time lag. Some techniques may take a while to pay back, so be patient. Consistency is very important when you want to make a mark on the internet.
Download our FREE
“Side Hustle Handbook” eBook
Learn the best side hustle strategies so you can multiply your income sources and fast track your journey to financial freedom